The Department of Interior has hired Darren Ash as the agency’s chief information officer (CIO), beginning Sept. 12.


Ash will take over the top tech job at the agency from Bill Vajda, who left in January after helming the IT operation for almost three years. Vajda left the Interior Department to take over the top technology role for the Wyoming state government. Deborah Hartley, the agency’s deputy CIO, has been the acting CIO since Vajda left nine months ago.


Ash inherits a $1.67 billion IT budget at Interior for fiscal year 2022 – that would grow to $1.72 billion for FY 2023 if Congress approves the administration’s full-year budget request for the agency.


Next year’s proposed funding would be used to tackle several priorities, including strengthening cybersecurity and the IT supply chain, enhancing the enterprise financial management system, improving data management, evaluating program effectiveness, and modernizing the Law Enforcement Records Management System (LERMS) and field communications infrastructure.


For 20-plus years, Ash has served as an IT expert in the public sector leading the way in implementing a wide range of important IT and information management (IM) capabilities and enhancements and improved IT/IM budgeting, governance, and portfolio management processes.


Most recently, Ash served at the Agriculture Department (USDA) where he spent the last six years as CIO of the Farm Service Agency. At USDA, Ash provided overall strategic direction and leadership for information technology functions.


Ash also served as CIO for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where he provided agency-wide leadership on IT, IM, and information security.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.